After an absence of what feels like forever, Scott & Bailey is back on our screens. Rather than a full length series though, we are instead getting just 3 episodes, all built around one plotline. To be fair, it is a strong one – two serial killers challenging each other to kill pre-selected targets on an encrypted website. All very dark and sinister, and made worse by a blunder in the team blowing the coverage of the investigation into the open.

But S&B is never really about the murders. Or rather, it is not a guessing game of ‘whodunit?’ like some other shows. The murderer is always fairly obvious, so the drama instead stems from how the case is pieced together. The forensics, the eyewitnesses, the team briefing sessions where everything collected together is picked over. The programme is a joy for crime geeks.

Another key feature of a good episode is the interview with the prime suspect. This is where Lesley Sharp, who plays Janet Scott, comes into her own. Quiet, patient and methodical, Scott sees the cracks in the story and slowly levers them into chasms down which the suspect falls. This series has been short on them thus far, so I’m hoping for a barnstormer in the finale later this week.

Of course, S&B wouldn’t be the same without some personal drama as well. Scott has a daughter being investigated and the brink of being put on the sex offenders register, whilst Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones playing her as flinty as ever) is acting DI whilst being pregnant. To add to this, the killers have made Bailey their next target. With this series being billed as the last ever, it makes next week’s episode all the more unpredictable, as there is no guarantee anyone will get out alive.

I must admit to missing DCI Gill Murray though. I loved her general indomitableness, someone who was a real force of nature yet also good at calming the fires. They should have brought her like Lewis, as someone casually consulting on the case.

Overall though, I am delighted the show is back, and is bowing out on something so daring. It will be missed when it is gone, yet it oddly feels right to be saying goodbye to it. And with one episode to go, and so much at stake, you know it is going to out on a high.

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